Using the Placebo Effect to Manifest Career Success

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You’ve likely heard of the placebo effect, or the event in which a person experiences anticipated effects of an inactive substance posed as an active treatment method. For instance, if someone is given sugar pills for their depression, they might convince themselves the “medication” is making them feel better, when really it’s their belief in it that’s doing so.

This is a common phenomenon that many people discuss but also overlook. Humans are naturally drawn to evidence and scientific explanations. Trusting a concept that can’t be “proven” can feel uncomfortable and even terrifying, especially when you’re investing so much time, energy and faith in it.

However, as we become more open-minded, the placebo effect is beginning to receive recognition—and for good reason.

"The placebo effect is more than positive thinking—believing a treatment or procedure will work,” said Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It's about creating a stronger connection between the brain and body and how they work together.”

Dr. Joe Dispenza, neuroscientist and author of You are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter, fostered this connection when he was struck by a car and deemed paralyzed if he chose to resist surgery. Not liking the few options he had, he created and committed to his own choice: Healing his body by using his “invisible consciousness,” or what he also refers to as “the giver of life.”

Dr. Dispenza’s book focuses on the power of our minds, how we can both harm and help our bodies by simply thinking. We can manifest exactly what we focus our energy on by tapping into our innate intelligence and abilities. Certainly, this can benefit our careers as well.

The concept is simple yet life-altering, and it can help anyone who feels lost at their job, trapped in a nine-to-five or too timid to take that leap into entrepreneurship. Here are the techniques I learned from reading You are the Placebo and how you can apply them to your own career.

Change your day-to-day thought process.

Without realizing, you might be maintaining the same exact thoughts every single day. This is especially harmful if your mindset tends to be negative. Changing how you think is essential to making life-altering career moves.

“When you learn new things and begin to think in new ways, you are making your brain fire in different sequences, patterns and combinations,” Dr. Dispenza wrote. “That is, you are activating many diverse networks of neurons in different ways…As you begin to think outside of the box, new thoughts should lead to new choices, new behaviors, new experiences and new emotions.”

So, in order to reach your goals that seem so far away at the moment, you must change your perception of them. Rather than telling yourself, “I could never start my own business,” change it to, “I know I can create a successful company.” Instead of asking yourself, “What if I fail and end up in financial trouble?”, ask, “What if I succeed and end up making twice as much money as I do now?”

Your actions will likely begin to shift subconsciously. You’ll start to believe what you’re telling yourself—start to believe in yourself. And once that happens, you’ll take risks, make connections and develop a clearer path to success.

Switch up your routine

Much like thinking new thoughts, you should also work on experiencing new situations, whether it be waking up earlier to exercise before work or pursuing that side project you’ve been putting off for months.

“Filling your brain with new knowledge and creating more enriched experiences biologically adds the raw materials for you to think, act and feel in new ways,” Dr. Dispenza wrote.

If you spend every day the same way, you’ll never progress or stray from your comfort zone. In other words, you won’t leave that job that’s draining your energy, or take that jump that could change your life for the better. You have to be willing to experiment in your professional life, or you’ll never know just what you can accomplish.

Embrace uncertainty

Like I said before, humans like to know things; they don’t handle uncertainty well. Working toward the unknown often feels like you’re taking steps backward rather than forward, but it’s actually quite the opposite.

Dr. Dispenza wrote, “If you told me that you didn’t like being in that void because it’s so disorienting and that you can’t see what lies ahead because you can’t predict the future, I’d say that’s actually great, because the best way to predict the future is to create it—not from the known, but from the unknown.”

The discomfort you’ll experience only means you’re making the necessary changes to become a better version of yourself—someone who believes they can achieve their goals and follows through on that notion. Don’t give up when you feel uncertain; embrace it.


Meditation is a popular habit today, with various videos across the internet and pricey classes at local yoga studios. Perhaps you’ve rolled your eyes at the concept, or maybe you’ve given it a shot and found it wasn’t for you. Regardless, there are many types of meditations and ways to pursue them that benefit you most.

First, Dr. Dispenza advised meditating either as soon as you wake up or right before you go to bed. He also recommended choosing a quiet place to sit, free of strong scents, drastic temperatures or visual distractions.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, like when you began changing your thought process and daily routine; but it will bring you back to the present so that you can imagine and create the future you want. If you notice your mind drifting to regrets from the past or fears about the future, simply remind yourself that you are right here, right now.

This form of mindfulness meditation allows you to give up your control and simply exist in the moment, which will stop worry from holding you back. With a clear future free of judgment, you’ll be ready to take the necessary steps toward your goals.

Whether you follow Dr. Dispenza’s exact meditation, which can be found in the back of his book, or try a similar one that resonates with you, your mindfulness will both calm and empower you.

Much like the way Dr. Dispenza manifested the healing of multiple fractures in his body, you too can manifest the future you seek.

Read more: The Worrier’s Guide to Success

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